TRIMBLE AND ASTUTI SET FOR GOLD STAR CHALLENGE IN 2006 Melbourne-Based Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Team Astuti Motorsport has been one of the first Multi-car operations to solidify their plans for the 2006 Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3...
TRIMBLE AND ASTUTI SET FOR GOLD STAR CHALLENGE IN 2006
Melbourne-Based Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Team Astuti Motorsport has been one of the first Multi-car operations to solidify their plans for the 2006 Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship, confirming today that they have re-signed Michael Trimble for the 50th anniversary of the CAMS Gold Star.
Astuti Motorsport have also confirmed that they have signed experienced open-wheel driver Simon Hardwidge to drive a second car, giving the team a strong two-pronged attack on this year's championship.
Victorian driver Trimble finished second in the 2005 championship despite a switch of teams mid season, his end of season form that saw him dominate the final round of the championship at Eastern Creek a sign that the 21-year-old driver will be one of the favorites heading into the opening round at Wakefield Park.
Trimble said he was looking forward to returning to challenge for the Gold Star.
"I'm really excited to be with Astuti Motorsport this season. I think we proved at the end of 2005 that we had the pace to challenge for the title. I'm sure that it will be very competitive again this season, but I'm really looking forward to it."
Trimble -- who won four of the 16 races held last season -- said that he was excited to be a championship contender in the historic 50th year of the prestigious CAMS Gold Star award.
"The 50th anniversary of anything is a big deal, but when you are talking about the Gold Star and the names that have won it in the past it's even bigger," he said.
"I would love to be able to win it this season and be able see my name alongside some of the greats of the sport. It would be incredible to win it and that is what we are trying to do this year."
Simon Hardwidge - who has a successful driving history in Australian Formula Two competition - will make his Gold Star debut as a driver in 2006, although he has experience as a Gold Star winning team owner, having campaigned current V8 Supercar ace Jason Bargwanna, Scott Dixon and Tim Leahy in the late 1990's.
Hardwidge will campaign a Dallara F304 Renault starting at Phillip Island's third round of the championship in May, and said that despite upwards of ten years out of driving he said he was ready to tackle the cut-and-thrust world of Formula 3 racing.
"I haven't driven anything since back in Formula two competition in the 1990's, but I decided that I'd return to the seat this year in Formula 3 racing." He said.
"We've had a busy couple of years growing our business and that has really stopped me from being involved in the championship, but things look like settling down a bit this year which will let me go racing again.
"When I was making the decision to return to the seat I quickly decided that I didn't want to race anything with a roof, so Formula 3 was really the logical choice.
"I'm really looking forward to getting in the car for the first time and having a run. It should be excellent."
Team Owner Sam Astuti, who has had a long-term involvement with Australian Open Wheel racing on both the driver and team owner front, said that he was also looking forward to the year ahead.
"It's going to be really great to have Michael with us to challenge for the championship." He enthused.
"It has also been a long goal of mine to run a multi-car team in the championship, so to be able to sign Simon Hardwidge to run our second car a little later in the season is fantastic as well. I'm very happy that we have put together a professional and strong team to challenge for wins this year."
With a strong field of drivers and teams -- including Leanne Tander, Chris Gilmour and Christian Jones Motorsport - already confirming plans for the year ahead, Astuti said he was certain that the team would have to work for success this season.
"It will be competitive this season, there is no doubt about that," he said.
"Even though we showed that we were very competitive at the end of 2005 we are going to have to double our efforts this season if we want to win the championship."
The opening round of the 2006 Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 championship gets underway at Wakefield Park, Goulburn, on March 4-5.